DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Tennessee Riverkeeper is planning to file a new lawsuit against the city of Decatur and Decatur Utilities for violating the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
According to Tennessee Riverkeeper founder David Whiteside, Alabama Department of Environmental Management documents show several sewage overflows in the city of Decatur. Whiteside says this leads to sewage in water, meaning bacteria, pathogens, and an overall threat to public health.
“Containminated water has bacteria and pathogens in it that can make people sick, from gastrointestinal illnesses to flu like symptoms, or if you have open wounds and get in tough with water, you can get your wounds infected,” Whiteside said.
Whiteside explained this is a temporary problem, that could be fixed.
“Right now, they have to notify the public when these spills occur, but that’s happening in an archaic manner and unfortunately the public isn’t realizing when these spills are occurring," Whiteside continued.
Whiteside says another way to fix this would be putting road money toward a better sewage system.
“When those problems occur, we’ve got raw sewage being discharged to our communities, and in my opinion that’s a lot worse of a problem than hitting a pothole,” Whiteside said.
Moving forward, the Tennessee Riverkeeper administration says they hope the lawsuit will force improvements to the health and well being of the city of Decatur and the people who live there.
“Riverkeeper’s biggest concern moving forward is that the city of Decatur and Decatur Utilities will continue to drag their feet in fixing these pollution problems," Whiteside said.
WAFF 48 news team talked with Decatur Utility spokesman Joe Holmes Tuesday who said they can’t comment since this is pending litigation.
Decatur city mayor Tab Bowling directed our news team to the legal department. Someone will be in touch with them Wednesday.